THE ARRIVAL of a town’s second Starbucks has raised questions over the impact it could have on independent coffee shops.
Worthing Borough councillor Edward Crouch voted against the chain’s application when it came before the planning committee this month.
He said he could not look independents in the eye having voted for a big brand - but he was the only member to express concern.
Starbucks, however, argue that their arrival on high streets is a ‘good news story’.
It argues that they not only target a different market to most independents but contributes to the increasing ‘coffee shop culture’ and leisure offer of its chosen locations.
Worthing town centre manager Sharon Clarke has also spoken in support of the plans, stating Starbucks was an often-requested missing presence on the high street.
But as Broadwater traders have adapted to life with the global brand on its doorstep, do Worthing town centre independents have anything to fear?
We spoke to Broadwater’s two coffee shops to see how they have coped.
Increased footfall as customers check out the new Starbucks has helped one of Broadwater’s two independent coffee shops.
Muldoons, in Cricketers Parade, has been doubling its efforts to continue to entice trade and even saw an increased turnover in the first month.
Co-owner Louis Chandler said: “In general, we have to admit that trade for us has largely been unaffected.
“The first month I think we even saw an turnover increase. This may be as an result of many things but I think that the cumulative effect of great local support, our increased online presence and our staff doubling their efforts to provide the best possible service has contributed to strong figures.”
Mr Chandler believes his town-centre bakery was ‘effectively wiped out’ by the arrival of Greggs in Worthing town centre in recent years, so he had similar visions when Starbucks were rumoured to be coming to Broadwater.
“Faced with this type of competition was initially very scary,” he said.
“We’ve learnt a few lessons since then and I’m sure that as far as Broadwater Muldoons is concerned, if we keep working hard and provide the best possible service we can then say that the future does look bright.”
Muldoons offers a range of fresh food and drinks, which Mr Chandler said made a difference.
He believes it would be a ‘different story’ if the shop focussed purely on coffee, as many people are more enticed by a brand name, over a buy local policy.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to say a massive thank-you to our customers,” he added.
For the full feature, see this week’s Business Matters, in the Herald and Gazette.